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It is not, perhaps, generally known, that the first 
impulse given to the public feeling on the subject of 
Slavery, which ultimately led to the abolition of the 
trade, was communicated by Females ; but the follow- 
ing is an authentic account of the commencement of 
that mighty work, to which so much piety, ability, and 
perseverance have been devoted. 

Before the subject of Slavery was brought under 
the consideration of the British Parliament, a Mr. 
Ramsay, who had held some civil employment in the 
West Indies, returned to England, and entered the 
ministry. He was settled iu the neighbourhood of 

B , where two Ladies resided, with whom, from 

his profession, he was in habits of frequent intercourse. 
The scenes he had witnessed of cruelty and oppression 
exercised upon the hapless Negroes, had left a deep 
and abiding impression on his mind, and were often 
the subject of his conversation; and, at the sugges- 
tion of his friends, and under the conviction that the 
public were ignorant of the existence of these dreadful 
evils, he published a book containing a statement of 
them. This produced violent opposition, and received 

8d. PER DOZEN, OR 4s. PER 100. 

res.lS&CL. & *s~ 

a flat denial of the truth of his allegations ; indeed, 
so virulent and vindictive was the hostility he encoun- 
tered, that he went to his grave with his days embit- 
tered, if not shortened by it. But before this, these 
two Ladies who had believed his report, and par- 
ticipated in his painful concern for the poor Slaves, 
when this discredit was attempted to be thrown upon 
his testimony, by those concerned in the West India 
trade, inquired whether the facts so positively denied, 
rested upon his own unsupported testimony, and whe- 
ther, in a Christian country, these things could be 
totally unknown, and whether no commiseration had 
been called forth and no effort made, to better the 
condition of the miserable Slaves ? He replied, there 
was a people called Moravians, to whom they were as 
well known as to himself, for they also had been eye- 
witnesses of these things, and had, with much sacri- 
fice and personal exertion, succeeded in establishing 
a Mission in some of the Islands, to instruct the Ne- 
groes in Christianity, and that there was in London, 
the Gentleman who had the conduct and oversight of 

this business ; this individual was invited to B , 

he came, and confirmed the statements made by Mr. 
Bamsay, but sickness was upon him, and he died 
shortly afterwards. This respectable witness was Mr. 
L , a Moravian Bishop. Shortly after this trans- 
action, one of the Ladies married Sir Charles M — — , 
who was in Parliament, and as her mind was still 
intent on the tales of woe which she had heard and 
believed, she took an early opportunity to implore her 
husband to become the advocate and defender of the 
poor Slaves, in the House of Commons. This he de- 
clined doing personally, as he was not particularly 
well qualified as a public speaker, and was well aware 
of the opposition such a measure would provoke from 
a widely extended portion of society, interested in 


silencing the investigation, and that few would choose 
to risk their political reputation by bringing forward 
so unpopular an object ; yet, to ensure it any reason- 
able prospect of success, he said it ought to be com- 
mitted to a person of talent, entering into public life, 
and still free to exert his powers on any subject which 
he might prefer. She urged him to seek for such a 
person, and he was led to cast his eyes upon Mr. 

W , (the revered champion of the Slaves.) He 

was then a young man, but had given indications of 
his good sense, eloquence, and public spirit, and to 
him the business was proposed. He listened, he 
sought information, he weighed evidence, he made 
acquaintance with Clarkson, and other friends of hu- 
manity, and finally devoted himself to the righteous 
cause ; and how powerfully, perseveringly, faithfully, 
and (to a certain extent) successfully, he has advocated 
the cause thus committed to him, every one knows. 

Another able, but more recent pleader in the House 
of Commons, for the abolition of Slavery, we are 
confidently assured, was led to this dedication of his 
powers, by the dying plea and entreaty of a female 
relative of remarkable piety and rare mental endow- 
ments, who implored him, with her expiring breath, 
" to remember the poor Slaves." 

Let none then despise weak instruments, or the day 
of small things ; — and now, with regard to its being 
unbecoming to join in these Associations, it can only 
be so when they are conducted in an unbecoming 
manner : but whilst pity for suffering, and a desire to 
relieve misery, are the natural and allowed feelings of 
women, surely to commiserate the Slave in his bonds, 
and to endeavour to loosen them, cannot be deemed 
unbecoming ; nor is it unfeminine to feel yet more 
acutely for the deep degradation of our own sex under 
this dreadful system, for the exposure of their persons 

to the lacerating whip, and the exposure of their un- 
taught minds to the more awful contamination of 
licentiousness in its most debasing form, which even 
leads its captives to glory in their shame. Surely 
these things may well stir up our spirits within us, 
when we behold so large a number of our own sex 
helpless victims alternately to cruelty and lust, — as 
women we must feel, and feeling we must endeavour 
to succour, but we desire ever to do so in the manner 
which appears to us most suitable to our respective 
conditions ; and we would ask the candid and unpre- 
judiced, whether there is anything unbecoming in the 
heads of families (in their domestic consumption) en- 
couraging and setting the example of giving the pre- 
ference to the produce of free labour over that which 
is the fruit of the unrequited toil of the Slave? Is 
there anything unfeminine in the formation of an Anti- 
Slavery Library, in which no books are placed that 
have not undergone the examination and received the 
approval of the Committee, who then allow them free 
circulation under the inspection of the Librarian, 
amongst all those who are desirous to read them; or 
in expending a part of our funds in printing, and in 
circulating in our neighbourhood, Tracts, which have 
received the same examination and approval, and 
which we think calculated to excite inquiry, and im- 
part information on the subject of Slavery, of whose 
worst features so many persons in this country remain, 
as we believe, to this day, in actual ignorance? Is 
there anything unbecoming in meeting, at stated 
times, in each others' houses, to read the Anti-Slavery 
Reporter, or other publications calculated to acquaint 
us more fully with the general state of feeling on this 
important object, and the measures adopted by the 
Friends of the Negroes, to better their condition ? 
Is it unfeminine for the Christian mother to engage to 

train up her children in love to the great family of 
mankind, teaching them that " God has made of one 
blood all the nations of the earth," and commanded 
all to love their brethren ; that he has appointed but 
one Redeemer, in whom there is no distinction of 
" bond or free ;" has sent one Gospel to cheer, * and 
one Spirit to sanctify every fallen creature of the 
race of Adam ; and that, when he has made no dis- 
tinction, we cannot safely make one : is not this 
rather to inculcate " peace upon earth, and goodwill 
towards men?" And besides these now enumerated, 
there is but one other object to which we engage our- 
selves, and that is, to use the influence which family 
ties or the intercourse of social life may afford us, 
in inducing our male friends perseveringly to petition 
the Parliament not to lose sight of the obligation to 
remove this dark stain from the code of free and 
Christian Britain, that the voice of the people may be 
heard, and that the attention of Statesmen may be 
fully given to this important concern. We are aware 
how much more easy it is to do wrong than to retrace 
our steps when we wish to return to a better way ; the 
removal of a long-established evil does always, in its 
complicated bearings, involve considerable perplexity 
in order to deal justly by all in any way partakers in 
it. We would not, therefore, be urgent for immediate 
emancipation ; but we do most earnestly desire that 
the objects of our solicitude may never be lost sight of 
by the Legislature, until they are reinstated into what 
we conceive a free and Christian Country must deem 
the inalienable rights of human beings. 

The Female Associations have not, however, pro- 

* The same Divine command which sent forth St. Paul as the 
Apostle of the Gentiles, sent also Philip, by special direction, to 
preach the same Gospel to the Ethiopian. 

secuted their unobtrusive labours without meeting 
opposition, and suffering (perhaps unintentional) mis- 
representation. They are, in the first place, charged 
with being adverse to all plans for ameliorating the 
condition, and gradually, through the means of Chris- 
tian Education, of elevating the Negro character. 
Wherever this has been thought or expressed, we 
declare it to be a mistake ; for, collectively and indi- 
vidually, we rejoice in every effort that is made to 
lighten the bonds of Slavery, and, most of all, in 
loosening the fetters of ignorance which hold the soul 
captive ; we welcome every hand employed in raising 
the fallen, and bringing them to the knowledge of the 
Saviour, who alone can bestow liberty upon the soul, 
even where the body is fast bound in misery and iron : 
but we acknowledge that we do continue to deprecate 
those exertions which are limited to amelioration 
merely ; nor can we be satisfied with any substitute 
for the object which we have at heart — the ultimate 
full Emancipation of the Slaves in our Colonies. We 
confess, also, that we have felt the impartation of 
mere oral instruction to be, in most cases, but giving 
the lowest degree of education, and though what was 
taught, might have the awful sanction of " thus saith 
the Lord," yet, with no further instruction, we have 
feared the impression left upon the mind would prove 
far too slight to enable those who had received, to 
retain it, amidst the temptations and corrupt practices 
incident to the condition of Slavery. Another fear 
has also arisen, lest teaching the revealed command- 
ments of God to those who would subsequently be 
placed in a situation where it would scarcely be pos- 
sible to obey them, we should be adding to their 
misery, by giving them the knowledge of what the 
Divine Lawgiver requires as the duty of man, while 
we are withholding from them the power to perform it. 

We allude to the Decalogue, and especially to the 
Fourth Commandment, we might also say to the Fifth 
and Seventh, and indeed to every one; for how is the 
Sabbath to be kept holy by those who are compelled 
to labour on that day, unless they can endure the 
alternative of starving ; and who have no other time 
or place, in which to dispose of the fruit of their 
labours, but what is afforded amidst the riot and 
tumult of a Sunday market ; and to this state of 
things the exceptions are, we fear, very rare ;*^-or 
how is the child to honour the parent upon whom he 
is compelled to inflict personal chastisement ?— and 
how can the sanctity of the marriage tie be respected 
by those, amongst whom it is so little encouraged, or 
its obligation enforced? Even a higher degree of 
Christian education — however morally and intellec- 
tually beneficial to the degraded Africans, as tending 
to elevate them to some participation of the privileges 
of rational intelligent beings — is yet, we conceive, 
but a poor equivalent for the wrongs they have re- 
ceived at the hands of those called their Owners, 
since it is a favour which may any moment be with- 
drawn, at the pleasure of their Masters. But while 
we thus endeavour to point out how far short all these 
plans fall of the object at which we aim, and repeat 
that, as a compensation for retaining the dreadful 
system of Colonial Slavery, we never can accept 
them, nor unite in sanctioning them ; yet, as tending 

* Oh that all those engaged in imparting Christian instruction 
to the Slaves, and those at home who support these benevolent 
efforts, would unite in intreating, in demanding from the Planters 
(as an unequivocal pledge of their sincerity in desiring the moral 
improvement of their Slaves) that they would give up the Sabbath 
to Him who is the Lord of it, and set it apart for his service ; that 
on this hallowed day of rest the Negroes might Jbe taught to love 
and serve him, and obey his commandments. Until this is done, 
the labour of the Christian instructors will not attain its reward. 


to fit and prepare these most unhappy beings for the 
safe restitution of their natural rights as men, and as 
indicating some sympathy and compassion, however 
tardy, in the deep debasement of the oppressed Afri- 
cans, we hail them as the evidence of a better tone of 
feeling : we rejoice in them, we wish them success, 
and both collectively and individually have, according 
to our ability, aided many of their funds ; always re- 
serving to ourselves the right of insisting that ame- 
lioration and emancipation are points far distant, 
which must not be confounded with each other ; and 
entreating those in whose hearts there have been 
awakened any feelings of compassion and justice to- 
wards the Slaves, not to be deluded, nor seek to 
satisfy the clamours of conscience by the fallacious 
notion that, in assisting to educate the Negroes, they 
have done all that is required of them. Let educa- 
tion go on ! may many more channels of Christian 
instruction be opened, and may they all fertilize the 
moral desert ; and may they all, in making known 
the word of God, bring light into the darkness, the 
gross 'darkness which covers this people ! But let 
education be considered only as a preparation, a pre- 
liminary to emancipation, whenever the Legislature 
shall see fit to grant the boon. 

London :-Bagster and Thorns, Printers, 14, Bartholomew Close.